Ehrlich’s transcendent verse translation renders these familiar stories as shocking, perplexing and remarkably...

WITH A MIGHTY HAND

THE STORY IN THE TORAH

“Anyone who reads the Torah will see that a lot of it doesn’t make sense,” Ehrlich writes in her introduction. “It is repetitive, inconsistent, even contradictory.” Oddly enough, though, a writer who’s skeptical about the Bible turns out to be the perfect person to translate it.

This Bible begins: “At the beginning, the earth was wild and empty….” She’s changed the traditional phrasing just enough that some readers will find it more approachable, and others will find it surprising and unfamiliar. She describes Moses’ basket as “a little ark of papyrus,” reminding readers of how much danger the baby was in, floating in the middle of the Nile. Nevins’ paintings may also change the way people think about the text. When Jacob wrestles an angel, the two of them look almost like one being. The pictures seem to be painted with more colors than exist in nature. They glow. Not every word of the Bible has been included, the text having been pared down to a series of interconnected stories. The book of Numbers is suddenly much shorter and much sadder, consisting of a sobering numbering of the dead. Even readers who are not at all skeptical about the Bible may find that they need this version; it’s so beautiful and new.

Ehrlich’s transcendent verse translation renders these familiar stories as shocking, perplexing and remarkably compelling—just as they always have been. (map, genealogy, endnotes) (Religion. 7-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7636-4395-9

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 3, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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Provocative yet cautious.

LINKED

A community transformed by swastikas, and the response.

Chokecherry, Colorado, is a small town with a lot going on. A group of paleontologists from Massachusetts have set up a research station after fossilized dinosaur poop is discovered in the area. Some residents still whisper about the Night of a Thousand Flames in 1978, when Ku Klux Klan members flocked to the area and burned crosses. And the local media is sent into an uproar when Michael Amorosa, a Dominican boy and one of the few students of color, discovers a swastika painted on a wall at Chokecherry Middle School. Told in alternating perspectives, the story follows the students as they embark on a lengthy tolerance-building curriculum, come up with an art project to commemorate Jewish victims of the Holocaust, deal with an out-of-town YouTuber who wants to go viral with his commentary on the story, and learn more about themselves and their family histories. The only Jewish girl, Dana Levinson, helps Lincoln Rowley study for his bar mitzvah after he learns that his maternal grandmother, rescued and raised by nuns as a Christian, was the sole member of her family to survive the Holocaust. While the story is engaging, with many twists and turns, the different voices blend together, and emotional depth takes a back seat to educational goals. There’s a lot to ponder here about mistakes, intention, the difference between ignorance and hatred, and religious identity.

Provocative yet cautious. (author's note) (Fiction. 9-14)

Pub Date: July 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-62911-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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A beautiful, powerful reflection on a tragic history.

ON THE HORIZON

In spare verse, Lowry reflects on moments in her childhood, including the bombings of Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima. 

When she was a child, Lowry played at Waikiki Beach with her grandmother while her father filmed. In the old home movie, the USS Arizona appears through the mist on the horizon. Looking back at her childhood in Hawaii and then Japan, Lowry reflects on the bombings that began and ended a war and how they affected and connected everyone involved. In Part 1, she shares the lives and actions of sailors at Pearl Harbor. Part 2 is stories of civilians in Hiroshima affected by the bombing. Part 3 presents her own experience as an American in Japan shortly after the war ended. The poems bring the haunting human scale of war to the forefront, like the Christmas cards a sailor sent days before he died or the 4-year-old who was buried with his red tricycle after Hiroshima. All the personal stories—of sailors, civilians, and Lowry herself—are grounding. There is heartbreak and hope, reminding readers to reflect on the past to create a more peaceful future. Lowry uses a variety of poetry styles, identifying some, such as triolet and haiku. Pak’s graphite illustrations are like still shots of history, adding to the emotion and somber feeling. He includes some sailors of color among the mostly white U.S. forces; Lowry is white.

A beautiful, powerful reflection on a tragic history. (author’s note, bibliography) (Memoir/poetry. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-358-12940-0

Page Count: 80

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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